We explore and analyze current issues and relevant topics to help accountants, attorneys, architects and engineers, insurance agents and real estate brokers avoid a professional liability case.
A Clean Break Nixed: Virginia’s Continuous Representation Rule Resurrects Legal Malpractice Claim Against Attorney
Attorneys who have withdrawn from representing a client, either at the client’s request or for other reasons, may experience a lingering fear of later being the subject of a legal malpractice claim In some states like Virginia, such a fear may be heightened if the “continuous representation rule” is found to apply. The recent case of Moonlight Enterprises, LLC v. Mroz, 2017 WL 1237947 (Va. Mar. 30, 2017), illustrates how this rule operates.
IntroductionWhen defending a legal malpractice action, the first item on any attorney’s checklist should be whether the plaintiff has satisfied the statute of limitations. Under Section 516.120 RSMo, the statute of limitations for claims of legal malpractice is five years. And Section 516.100 provides “that for the purposes of sections 516.100 to 516.370,” a cause of action for legal malpractice shall be deemed to accrue “when the damage resulting therefrom is sustained and is capable of ascertainment.” But when is damage “sustained and capable of ascertainment”?
In 1976, the Wyoming legislature enacted two statutes that effectively required all persons, including minors, to bring a medical malpractice claim within two years of treatment. The statute of limitations governing medical malpractice claims by minors required suit to be brought by the minor’s eighth birthday or within two years of the alleged act, error, or omission, whichever occurs later. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-107. Though the applicable tolling statute would otherwise allow a minor to bring suit within three years after reaching the age of majority, there was a specific carve-out for actions involving the rendition of healthcare services. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-114¹.